We three (mom, dad, and nearly 6 year old daughter) are just back from a nice vacation in France, and I wanted to follow up with a post about the Thames. Avignon was our second stop, we took the TGV train from Paris Lyon to Avignon Centre. The Grand Hotel (where the Thames is housed) is impossible to miss. Walk out of the station, take a left, and walk 1 block to the hotel entrance. Viola! Simple!
The Grand Hotel is itself not so grand anymore but definitely a pleasant place. You'll be greated by Philippe who will give you spot on excellent advice about restaurants, markets, wine stores, car rentals, attractions worth seeing, etc. Nothing he told us lead us astray. And you can be sure that he is giving his personal opinion, not earning "kick backs" from any local establishments. The rooms were well stocked with about everything you can imagine. The free wifi and phone were helpful.
The large patio is a common patio shared with about 4-5 (?) rooms. That is not obvious in the pictures, but it did not bother us as there is plenty of space and distance between tables. There can be some street noise around rush hour, but we found it pleasant outside pretty much all day and evening.
The food in Avignon was probably tops for our vacation. The obvious love of food and wine by the locals is apparent from all the wonderful options to eat and markets full of great produce and wine.
Wine store - Nicolas (buy the Casis Rose, it is fantastic!)
Restaurants - excellent meals at L'Essential (put small fish tank on the table for our daughter and served cotton candy to her for dessert), amazing meal and outdoor dining at Le 5 Sens, beautiful final meal at Fou de Fafa. All three restaurants provided warm and friendly service. Very friendly service at Le Caveau de Theatre but meal was not a hi-lite, though pretty solidly done. (Made a wonderful "kids meal" for our daughter with fish, rissoto, and green beans in the shape of a little girl.) However, it is open on Monday when many places are closed. You can email many places for reservations.
Tuesdays!! Many museums are closed on Tuesdays in the area. So, plan ahead! Side trip to Arles for the museum and walk through town are worth the effort. Take the free little shuttle to the museum and then walk into town. Arles itself was a little dirty for our taste, lots of dog "poop" everywhere, graffiti, and crowds. I really preferred Avignon and glad we made that decision.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Thames is 4 stars aparthotel open in July 2002 and located in the old historical city center of Avignon, just in front of the millennium walls surrounding the old center, 10 minutes walk from the Popes' Palace and Benezet bridge. Largest air conditioned suites and apartments in the old city center, fully equipped for short or long stay. Thames resort Hotel and Apartments' services is less than 400 meters from 90 restaurants with the 10 most well known ones, less than 700 meters from Popes' palace, less than 500 meters from Opera and most well known theaters, next to the old central train station, next to the inter-cities busses'station ! Thames Resort Hotel and apartments'services is one of the only three hotels in Avignon able to propose underground car parking with private and secure lifts direct to the rooms, suites and apartments'floors ! Thames is also one othe the three hotels in the old city center to propose a pool and sundeck on the top of the building ! ... more less